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Carol Bergé

An Inventory of Her Papers in the Manuscript Collection at the Harry Ransom Center

Creator: Bergé, Carol, 1928-2006
Title: Carol Bergé Papers
Dates: 1960-1969
Extent: 4 boxes (1.6 linear feet)
Abstract: The Carol Bergé Papers, 1960-1969, include drafts, notes, manuscripts, galleys, and page proofs of her works, plus correspondence, research materials, clippings, and contracts. The manuscripts for Poems Made of Skin (1968) and Circles, as in the Eye (1969) are found in this collection, as are those prose pieces that focus on local histories of contemporary art/literary scenes and trends. The bulk of the collection consists of Bergé's extensive correspondence with friends, writers, and editors. Also included are notes and press releases for the numerous benefits in which Bergé participated or organized. The remainder of the collection includes manuscripts by other authors, most of which were gifts to Bergé. The materials found in this collection document Bergé's work and life prior to 1970.
Call Number: Manuscript Collection MS-0349
Language: English
Access:

Open for research




Acquisition:

Purchase, 1969 (R5081)

Processed by:

John Minniece, Eric Speas, Revised January 1994 by David Hatfield Sparks

Repository:

The University of Texas at Austin, Harry Ransom Center


Carol Bergé, born in 1928, in New York City, was primarily a poet and fiction writer. She was educated at New York University, 1946-1952, and at the New School for Social Research, 1952-1954. Bergé worked as a journalist and editorial assistant during the 1950s for such organizations as Simon and Schuster and Forbes magazine. In 1970, she founded CENTER Magazine and Press and served as editor and publisher until 1992. She also served as editor of The Mississippi Review (1977-1978) and of Ahsahta Press (1983).

Bergé lectured extensively at such universities as the University of New Mexico, the University of California at Santa Cruz, Indiana University at Bloomington, the State University of New York at Albany, and the University of Southern Mississippi. She was a board member of organizations such as American Center of P.E.N. and Poets and Writers. Bergé was also awarded numerous literary honors. These include the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation fellowship (1964), four fellowships-in-residence at the MacDowell Colony (1970-1975), and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Fiction (1980).

Bergé was a prominent figure in New York's East Village poetry scene of the late 1950s and 1960s. Her work could be characterized as including "Beat" and early feminist elements, but reflects such diverse influences as Chaucer, Shakespeare, D. H. Lawrence, Dylan Thomas, William Carlos Williams, and Pablo Neruda. Bergé was involved with poets of the San Francisco poetry renaissance as well as poets of the Deux Megots, Le Métro cafe, and participated in the multimedia "happenings" which characterized New York's East Village poetry scene. She was involved in the origins of the poetry series at St. Mark's Church in the Bowery, which continues to introduce and support contemporary poets. In this capacity, and as very much a part of an urban avant-garde, she helped organize a number of important benefits and conferences.

A selection of her early poems was included in Imamu Amiri Baraka's (LeRoi Jones') 1962 anthology Four Young Lady Poets. Her later poems were frequently anthologized and appeared in numerous important literary magazines of the 1960s-1980s, as well as in journals such as Poetry and The Nation. In 1964, she published the first of a dozen small press books, The Vulnerable Island. A volume of reportage, The Vancouver Report, was published in 1965, and two poetry volumes, Poems Made of Skin and Circles, as in the Eye, were published in 1968 and 1969. In 1971, Bergé published From a Soft Angle: Poems about Women, which reflected a trend towards women's issues as a focus in writing. During the 1970s, Bergé's writing focus moved into prose and fiction. Her first novel, Acts of Love: An American Novel, appeared in 1973. In 1981, she published a collection of short fiction pieces entitled Fierce Metronome, and in 1984, she published her second novel, Secrets, Gossip and Slander .

Carol Bergé died in Santa Fe, New Mexico, on February 12, 2006.


Carruth, Hayden, in Hudson Review (New York), 1969

Contemporary Authors, New Revision Series, Volume 7, 1982

Contemporary Authors Autobiography Series, Volume 10, 1989

Contemporary Poets, 1985

de Loach, Allen (ed.), The East Side Scene, 1972

McCord, Howard, in Measure (Pullman, Washington), 1970

Reed, Ishmael, in Washington, D C. Post, 1973


The Carol Bergé Papers, 1960-1969, include drafts, notes, manuscripts, galleys, and page proofs of her works, plus correspondence, research materials, clippings, and contracts. The manuscripts for Poems Made of Skin (1968) and Circles, as in the Eye (1969) are found in this collection, as are those prose pieces that focus on local histories of contemporary art/literary scenes and trends. The bulk of the collection consists of Bergé's extensive correspondence with friends, writers, and editors. Also included are notes and press releases for the numerous benefits in which Bergé participated or organized. The remainder of the collection includes manuscripts by other authors, most of which were gifts to Bergé. The materials found in this collection document Bergé's work and life prior to 1970.

In addition to Bergé's own work and life, the papers touch upon several subject areas: the poetry of the "Beats," the San Francisco poetry renaissance, the New York East Side scene (especially the Deux Megots poets) and early modern feminist trends in poetry. The papers also document the numerous poets and editors with whom Bergé corresponded. Significant correspondents include: Imamu Amiri Baraka (LeRoi Jones), Nelson Ball, Paul Blackburn, Jerry Bloedow, Robert Creeley, David Cunliffe, Edward Dahlberg, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, George Hitchcock, David Ignatow, Lenore Kandel, Denise Levertov, Gordon Lish, Walter Lowenfels, W. S. Merwin, David Ossman, Margaret Randall, Tom Raworth, Ed Sanders, Diane Wakoski, and Louis Zukofksy. A complete list of correspondents is located at the end of this guide.

The collection is arranged in four series: Works, 1960-1969 (1.5 boxes), Poetry Readings, 1961-1967 (1 box), Poetry Manuscripts Collected, undated (0.5 box), and Correspondence, 1960-1969 (2 boxes). While the materials have been arranged into these series, the original order of material within folders has generally not been altered.


The following Ransom Center collections also contain Bergé -related materials:

  • Beck, Julian – Misc.
  • Corno Emplumado, El – Recip., Works/Number 13, 17, 21
  • Dahlberg, Edward – Recip., Misc.
  • Genesis West – Recip., Misc.
  • Zukofsky, Louis – Recip.
Significant bodies of Bergé materials are also held by the Special Collections Library at Washington University in St. Louis (representing the years 1970-1984) and by the Center for Archival Collections at Bowling Green State University (ca. 1981-1997), which also holds her personal library. Smaller bodies of material are available at the Beinecke Library at Yale, the Poetry Collection at SUNY Buffalo, the University of Connecticut, and Syracuse University.


People

Baraka, Imamu Amiri, 1934-

Ball, Nelson

Blackburn, Paul

Bloedow, Jerry

Bowering, George, 1935-

Childs, Barney

Congdon, Kirby

Coolidge, Clark, 1939-

Creeley, Robert, 1926-

Crozier, Andrew

Cunliffe, David

Curtis, C. Michael

De Loach, Allen

Ferlinghetti, Lawrence

Fraser, Kathleen

Harris, Marguerite, 1899-

Hitchcock, George

Hollo, Anselm

Ignatow, David, 1914-

Kandel, Lenore

Levertov, Denise, 1923-

Lish, Gordon

Lowenfels, Walter, 1897-1976

Marshall, Kathleen F.

Morris, Richard, 1939-

Mosler, Charles J.

Ossman, David

Pippett, Aileen

Planz, Allen, 1937-

Ragó, Henry

Randall, Margaret, 1936-

Raworth, Tom

Sanders, Ed

Schaff, David

Sewell, M. Broccard, 1912-

Sherman, Susan, 1939-

Sward, Bob, 1933-

Wakoski, Diane, 1937-

Zukofsky, Louis, 1904-1978

Subjects

Bohemianism -- United States

Editors

Poetry, American --20th century

Poets, American -- Women authors

Women poets, American

Places

Greenwich Village (New York, N. Y.) -- Intellectual life -- 20th century

San Francisco (Calif.) --Intellectual life -- 20th century

Document Types

Address books

Calendars

Chapbooks

First drafts

Galley proofs

Notebooks

Poems